SAIIER 2019:Last School
A Secondary & Higher Secondary level school facility, Last School is unique in following the “Free Progress” approach: inviting the students to progressively define their own program of development. This approach has a demonstrable structuring effect on their personality and increases their autonomy, self-confidence and capacity of innovation. The school offers a curriculum designed to develop each child integrally through their mental, vital, physical and, when possible, in their psychic & spiritual beings.
The teachers assist the students in finding what they truly are and want to become, and to build in themselves a rich multifaceted personality, through a great variety of learning activities.
Approach and curriculum:
The program of Last School includes literature, art in all its forms, social sciences, natural sciences, philosophy, mathematics, physics & chemistry, languages, film editing, 3D modelling. Physical education is very much insisted upon as well as extra-curricular activities such as dance, music, theater, trekking, so that all the parts of the being are awakened and developed.
Art is an important component of the program having in it a triple objective: first, to refine the being and give to it a sense of beauty in everything, second, as an exercise of concentration and focus, and third as an opportunity to develop the capacity to work with matter and to make it a conscious expression of beauty.
Mathematics and sciences are approached to sharpen the analytical mind and awaken the intellectual integrity embedded in scientific methods.
Literature and language are used to develop the capacity to think and express oneself, whether in writing or orally, and to touch some of the most essential questions of human life and condition.
No subject is an end in itself but all serve as a means by which to address and develop diverse parts of the being. Students are encouraged to involve themselves in the management and care of the school as well as in the different activities of the community as a field of hands-on and experiential learning.
The evaluation of the year is undertaken individually with each of the students with a focus on the way they have progressed, not only academically but also as human beings, the priority in the school being openness and sincerity.
Highlights of the year:
We had 39 full time students during the year. In addition, courses have been offered to young Aurovilians and adults on Indian Culture and Sri Aurobindo’s poetry. Moreover, the Art Center is being used by students who are part of other Auroville schools’ programs. Some adults also come to study Sanskrit.
Included or completing the regular and intense work in the routine of the school timetable, here are some the highlights of the year:
- We start every day with an assembly in a concentrated silence.
- Art workshops take place at the start of each semester, in which everyone, students and teachers, work intensively together for 5 to 10 days, concluding with a presentation and display of the work. In addition this year glasswork was offered by Robert L’Heureux at his workshop.
- As in previous years, some students also participated in different intensive cultural programs happening in Auroville such as the Ultimate Frisbee tournament, dance and music performances.
- This year the variety of languages proposed increased to 10: English, French, Tamil, Sanskrit, Hindi, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese.
- A Debate Club was started by some students, who met each Friday afternoon to explore together how to debate while maintaining calm and intellectual integrity.
- Projects for the community at large were taken up by several students in film editing and art: such as documentaries, short films and decorative installation projects.
Reflections on this year:
This year, the students were involved in taking care of their school, intensely at the beginning and the end, e.g. cleaning and waxing the floors, painting the walls, scrubbing furniture, etc.
For some of our students, it was a year of deepening and increased responsibility in and out of school.
Ten students have concluded their time in Last School, moving on within Auroville or away for further studies.
Some of the students increased their involvement in the school, thus becoming a point of reference for the younger ones.